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Attack of the machines

First the laptop goes, then the coffeemaker.  It’s not as bad as (almost) losing two chapters when you’re writing a book, but it’s not trivial, either-- not if you’re one of those addicts who simply cannot function without caffeine in the morning, and by “cannot function” I mean “cannot dress oneself or speak coherently or type intelligibly.” And I wouldn’t bother blogging about such a thing if not for the fact that the coffeemaker in question-- one of those nice steel carafe things that keeps your coffee warm without having it sit and stew on a hot plate-- succumbed, like the laptop, to a Mysterious Malfunction while insisting that it was actually in working order.  (The laptop is still in denial about the loss of its USB ports; the coffeemaker continues to tell time and to insist that it will make the next pot of coffee at 6:38 AM even though it no longer heats water and brews coffee.)

It’s not a big deal to get a new coffeemaker.  (Let’s see how many people urge me to get a Mac!) I’m just saying-- I’m this far (maybe five or six thousand words or so) from completing a draft of this dang book, and the machines are trying to stop me.  That’s all.  I’m simply letting them know that I’m onto them.

Which reminds me of something I forgot to post when my family and I got back from our four-day trip to Hawai’i.  We were in this village on the east shore of Kaua’i, eating a late lunch of ahi and such things and just having a fine old time, when Janet had the bright idea of getting some Kona coffee to bring home.  So we looked around for a coffeeshop, and sure enough, next to the organic grocery and the hemp-acupuncture emporium there was a little place selling Kona beans-- at $35 a pound.  Janet suggested that we go in for half a pound, whereupon I said, “look, we’ve flown five thousand miles and we’ve spent god knows what on airfare for four-- you want to save $17.50 in the coffee shop?  Let’s just get a pound of the stuff and we’ll mix it into the merely human coffee we have at home, and then at some point when we’re feeling low we’ll make one pot of Kona by itself.” Janet agreed, and we decided also that we’d buy one cup of Kona on the spot, to check it out and to fortify ourselves for the 17-hour journey home.

The young woman in the coffeeshop then told us that the Kona-for-drinking was a couple of hours old and that she’d brew us a new batch so we could get a good sense of what we were getting into.  We could come back in, oh, maybe ten minutes.

When we returned, we sipped our fresh Kona, gave it an ecstatic thumbs-up, and ordered a pound of beans to take home.  The woman brought out a large bag of beans and a scale that measured weights in the thousandths of grams, and poured us precisely 1.000 pounds (that would be 453.400 grams for you gram fans), for which we duly forked over $35.  And as the sipping and the pouring and the weighing and the bagging and the cash-transacting was going on, I asked myself, why does this feel so much like a drug deal? Until I remembered, oh yeah, it is a drug deal.

And, speaking of writing and drugs, this blog will now observe a moment of silence for Hunter S. Thompson.  For some reason I’m struck today by the fact that along with the gonzo-ether-Nixon stuff that made him famous, Thompson did some inspired sportswriting; I’ll remember him as much for his line that the 1-iron is a club so evil that pros will not allow it in their bags for fear of its corrupting influence as for his line about Nixon representing the “dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character.” But maybe that’s just me.

Posted by on 02/22 at 08:10 AM
  1. Michael—I try to limit the influence of electronics on the essential caffeine function.  Just a kettle of water on the electric stove (no timer) and an electric coffee grinder for the frozen beans out of the electric refrigerator.  NOTE: no timers or other mindless controls, but not exactly Luddite with the electricity and all.  Also, it’s got to be equal exchange coffee—can’t go cheatin’ the growers.

    Posted by Jim Shirk  on  02/22  at  10:39 AM
  2. Michael,

    I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

    Posted by the coffeemaker  on  02/22  at  10:53 AM
  3. All right—this is the coffee equivalent of “get a mac,” but, well… get a French Press.

    Seriously, man. Best cup of coffee in the world, if you like it strong, black, and in copious amounts.

    Which… well, I just assumed. I mean, I understand that it’s a private matter. I don’t see why that should prevent you from being a journalist now.

    Posted by Alex  on  02/22  at  10:54 AM
  4. You’ve done it now, Michael. Compared to the fights one can get into over coffee purism, computer platform wars are mere schoolyard scuffles.

    Um, and you might not want to watch Maximum Overdrive while you’re having these little issues. Just saying.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/22  at  11:27 AM
  5. OT:

    Dude - You’ve been discovered by David Horowitz.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  02/22  at  12:18 PM
  6. Gevalia offers a perfectly wonderful coffee maker free with the purchase of 2 pounds of their coffee (vile).  I agree with Jim Shirk, though, the only REAL way to make great coffee is to heat the water to just under boiling and pour it through the ground coffee in a cone filter.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  12:29 PM
  7. Get an iCoffee.  It’s mac-licious!

    On a lighter note--horrorwitz giving you bad press?  Can you put that on your CV?

    Posted by DocMara  on  02/22  at  12:36 PM
  8. Just a warning from a fellow caffeine addict.  At first, it’s the Kona, just the Kona.  Nice aroma, great buzz.  But after a pound of it, you need… something more.  Pretty soon, you’re knocking over gas stations to get a fix of Jamaica High Mountain, then it’s Blue Mountain.... Just a warning, pal!

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  12:49 PM
  9. Hi, Roxanne-- actually, David and I go way back.  When he ran the Panthers’ soup kitchen, I was in charge of the literacy program.  Seriously, we’ve sparred off and on for about ten years-- but never before has he called my humor “clumpy”!  Don’t worry, I’ve got a response at the ready.  Later today or (more likely) tomorrow. . . .

    And DocMara, I can put it on my CV if I like, but more important, my base salary is directly pegged to attacks from the right.  That’s the way we lefty academics have the system rigged, heh heh heh.

    As for you French Press types, what’s with all the plunging and squeezing and savoring?  That’s so much work.  I just want to push a button.  In fact I’m thinking of buying a delivery system that will run a small pipeline from the coffeepot to my desk so that I don’t have to keep getting up and pouring myself another cup.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/22  at  12:55 PM
  10. Don’t worry, I’ve got a response at the ready.  Later today or (more likely) tomorrow. . . .

    Oh good god, I can’t wait.

    Posted by NTodd  on  02/22  at  01:04 PM
  11. Kona is definitely a gateway coffee. One minute you’re calmly sipping Kona in your breakfast nook, and the next minute you’re hocking your Minutemen CDs because someone has a line on pure Jamaican Blue.

    Posted by Paul  on  02/22  at  01:12 PM
  12. Michael, I’ve been teaching at an engineering school to learn a thing or two about the function of redundancy in the system. Without coffee within the first fifteen minutes of waking up I start shaking like Billie Holiday after a night in detox. What I have are two coffee machines set up—one in the kitchen and one upstairs in the room where I write. Should one fail I at least have the caffeine necessary to scream and throw a tantrum. I have also have two computers that back each other. And I have two notes above my desk both saying that David Horowitz is an asshole just in case one falls off.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  01:21 PM
  13. Get a teapot! (Apple makes a great one, PowerPot G4.) Seriously, tea is much better for you, and all those lovely antioxidents...not to mention no more coffee breath.

    But, alas, I know all about coffee and its evil grip. I used to be so hooked on caffeine (the pure Robusta coffee kind) I couldn’t recognize my kids in the morning without a cup or two. I switched to tea one day and never looked back. Boiled water is easy to come by, and for $35 you can get a lot of tea.

    Posted by Kath  on  02/22  at  01:37 PM
  14. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but mine is correct in this case. This, the Bodum Electric Santos, is the coffeemaker of the gods:

    http://tinyurl.com/5rshm

    A little more complicated than just pressing a button, but indescribably good coffee without the unfortunate layer of grounds that you get with a manual French press.

    I had all but abandoned coffee drinking, preferring to feed my caffeine addiction with giant troughs of strong Irish tea, but I got the Bodum as a Christmas gift, and now I’m back to full-fledged coffee addiction (in addition to the tea). Fortunately, I haven’t developed the Kona habit...yet.

    Posted by Amy  on  02/22  at  01:45 PM
  15. When I was in college, just after the Second Punic War, some hopeless dreamer opened a coffee shop just across the street from me, and I used to buy Blue Mountain for $6.50/lb.  To which my friends would reply, “You pay that much for coffee?

    Kona at the time was just an also-ran, same price as most other quality beans.  The price exploded after the Japanese cornered the market on Blue Mountain in the late 70s.  It was also the most notoriously fake agricultural label in the world into the mid-90s at least, thanks in no small part to our, uh, entrepreneur-friendly food labeling laws.  An operation in California named itself “Kona Farms” and cranked out millions of pounds of cheap beans as “Kona Coffee”. 

    My rapid deterioration forced a switch to tea a couple years back, so I’m not up on prices, but I always thought Costa Rican was a good value substitution for Blue Mountain or Kona.  And the best coffee maker hands down is those old-timey vacuum jobs with the two glass globes, although that could be Philip Marlow speaking.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  01:45 PM
  16. Tea?  Who let this woman in here?

    --Seriously, Kath, I’m partial to a good cup of tea every so often, and I even had a period (when I was 20 and frequented the Hungarian Pastry Shop near Columbia, where the coffee was bottomless but also oily and dangerous) when I drank nothing but Earl Grey.  These days I prefer Candy Crowley’s Dubuque Green Tea, which helps keep me in touch with out-of-touch reporters reporting on allegedly out-of-touch Democrats.

    And Chris, thanks for the backup suggestions!  I have to get me one of those secondary Horowitz reminders.  Right after I finish building my backup blog.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/22  at  01:49 PM
  17. You out-of-touch technocrats with your “electrical coffee devices”—my good friend Sherman Alexie tells me that even watered-down swill-drinking red-diaper babies like you are human etc., but who cares what he thinks, even though he’s my good friend Sherman Alexie.

    Seriously, though—Is your problem just with the name? ‘Cause you could call it a “Freedom Press,” though that does sound a little like a euphemism from an Alberto Gonzales memo.

    Posted by Alex  on  02/22  at  02:09 PM
  18. "Oily and dangerous”? I thought that description only applied to the habitues of the Hungarian Pastry Shop, the ancient anarchist types draped in shapeless black clothing of uncertain vintage whom we used to refer to as the Ginsburgs (for reasons now lost to history but having nothing to do with Allen Ginsburg). Then again, in those days (I was there at roughly the same time you were), I even considered Ta-Kome coffee an acceptable beverage, so I must have been immune to the perils of the relatively civilized brew at the Hungarian.

    Posted by Amy  on  02/22  at  03:08 PM
  19. French press.* Peet’s coffee.  Never decaf.  Add brandy on cold days.

    That said, let’s set up a collection so Michael can get a new computer?  I don’t care that much if he goes without coffee. I do care if we don’t get our daily Bérubé—that could cause problems out here.

    *the coffee maker.  Not the other kind of French press which is even better and not quite as aggressive as the Italian press…

    Posted by PW  on  02/22  at  03:34 PM
  20. Concur on the French press dealio.  I generally still use a drip maker (free Krups thing from Gevalia), but my wife got me a nice little 4-cupper press which is just dandy.

    Posted by NTodd  on  02/22  at  03:39 PM
  21. Ha!  I’m about to take some grading to the Hungarian right now.  There are still a few ancient anarchists, but I’d say most patrons these days are students (tho’ we sometimes play anarchists on TV). 
    And the Hungarian has become something of a shy nerdly pick-up spot, if the Missed Connections board at Craigslist can be used as an indexer. It’s perfect!  do your grading in a weird, flickering ambience, drink unlimited cups of dubious cofffe, and when you get bored and twitchy, cruise the customers! 

    About coffeemakers. There’s nothing quite like a Nestle espresso machine, the one with the coffee cartridges.  Not environmentally friendly, expensive as hell, perpetual thralldom to Nestle products.  I don’t own one, but it makes the BEST home-brewed espresso I’ve ever tasted.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  03:40 PM
  22. While we’re cycling through Beverages I Have Known, can we talk about absinthe?  Like, if we were to fill GW up with the stuff, would he explode?  Go sane?  Would I be able to read the news without barfing up my liver?

    I hear the stuff is legal in Switzerland these days.

    Posted by Ryan  on  02/22  at  03:51 PM
  23. This is what you want:

    <object_of_desire/">The Ideal Machine</a>

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  02/22  at  03:59 PM
  24. I do not know why it mangled the url, but let’s try this:

    http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/object_of_desire/

    Posted by PZ Myers  on  02/22  at  04:00 PM
  25. As I can only speak good of coffee, Michael, please permit me to move on to what’s bothering me.

    Hunter Thompson spoke the apocalyptic vocabulary of the soured prophet. In his writings he denounced and then he denounced again more floridly and then denounced again the malignant workings of the vision he proposed of America. He fitted his vocabulary to the times, as prophets will, and made his bet that the lusty squabbling debauchery of the country’s passionate scramblers for wealth and power would end badly for us all. He put his bet down early on that one.

    Among a certain class of age-mates in journalism he will always be fondly recalled. The remembrance of him at ESPN.com is heartfelt. The sadness of co-workers there is evident. It might seem ironic that the comfortably positioned journalists of ESPN.com, or his friend Ed Bradley or all the many established journalists around the nation who have expressed or will express in coming days true regret over his death, would admire the savage criticism of all their kind that was forever at risk of spewing from Hunter Thompson’s lips. But there you go. Even a well-established journalist can spy the kernel of truth in the flamboyant way he chose to write it down.

    The recently revealed Guckert signals an apotheosis of the harrowing vision of the good Doctor, in which straight news tracks perfectly with his own grandiosely deployed vocabulary for the debased goings on of America. Even under the most sublime influence Hunter Thompson couldn’t have entertained a more profoundly disposed proof of his own expressed views than that which the sordid ascendancy of Guckert all the way to the White House revealed.

    In some one of the later ‘70’s I spent an entirely uncomfortable evening at College of Marin in Hunter Thompson’s presence. For his own reasons he chose to be only nominally available for what had been billed as appearance in the school’s gymnasium. Corso was there drunker than a dog, says The Wife, and Ginsberg.

    I remember mostly the evening falling into motley chaos as the good Doctor deflected sincere calls for making sense of things, big things, important things, addressed to him by earnest members of the audience who bothered him with questions, pleading with him in the end at the very least to make some sense of the evening itself, a request resolutely denied by the Doctor’s determinedly erratic discourse. It was a shambles.

    I couldn’t help but think, witnessing the event (I cannot help but think now) of the achieved madness of Cassidy years before, importuning people from another stage entirely with his own crazed word salad. There was an acetate made of whatever it was Cassidy said that night which I suppose survives in newer formats. I don’t know if a recording survives of that night at College of Marin with Hunter Thompson except for what remains in the discomfited memory of its attendants.

    At least in that sense the evening offered up the real goods. Discomfiting, yes. The good Doctor sought that same effect at the very least in much of his unsettling canon, lashing out there as he did with restless disgust in his self-made vernacular of jeremiad at all he could make of the sorry state of America.

    His words ring true enough on that score, newly evidenced by Guckert and all the rest, lot of comfort realizing the thing offered the good Doctor himself in the end.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  04:30 PM
  26. "Good beer, no shit.” RIP

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  04:54 PM
  27. As for you French Press types, what’s with all the plunging and squeezing and savoring?  That’s so much work.  I just want to push a button. 

    I got one of these for just that reason. A bit steep in terms of up-front cost, but I persuaded my lovely spouse that the expense was best amortized against the three $2.50 double espressos I wouldn’t have to buy every weekday.

    It’s not a perfect machine. It’s best for espresso: the “cafe Americano” setting is lackluster in output. Also, it for some reason was not designed to carry the grounds out to the compost pile every two days. Serious oversight if you ask me.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/22  at  05:09 PM
  28. From one who currently is a frequenter of the Hungarian Pastry Shop, its coffee definitely beats the ubiquitous emblem of the corporate degradation of coffee: starbucks. Also, for good coffee the only place in SC is obviously the Cheese Shop.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  06:07 PM
  29. Well, I was beaten to the strong-tea advocacy, but probably avoided most of the abuse, too.  Coffee is to tea as crack is to freshly chewed coca leaves; these days I limit the crack to occasional coffeehouse fixes, and stick to tea at home.  It’s easier on the system all around once you’ve adapted.

    Speaking of coca:

    When I was 20 and frequented the Hungarian Pastry Shop near Columbia, where the coffee was bottomless but also oily and dangerous...

    --Oh, I read that as Colombia for a moment!  That’s what all this drug-talk can do.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  08:52 PM
  30. My mom and her boyfriend were just in Kona. The thing they were raving about were the kava bars. Gives you a mild high or something.

    On machines: I spilled juice all over my keyboard yesterday. It’s sticky but it works.

    Ohmigosh: my first comment on your blog. What a lovely day.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  09:18 PM
  31. and we have your back, sir. flame away when ready!

    “Don’t worry, I’ve got a response at the ready.  Later today or (more likely) tomorrow...”

    (and i also use the Fren--i mean, “FREEDOM” Press and pot-of-water on stove-top method, over freshly ground Fair-Trade beans...i mean, c’mon--an AUTO-DRIP? what kind of effete liberal uses something like that? tell me you at least had one of those dealies that can also make a latte! you could get your card taken away, man!)

    -L.

    Posted by Librarian  on  02/22  at  10:27 PM
  32. "Kona” means one thing to me:  Kona gold marijuana.  It was highly prized among my crowd in the late 70’s and it was truly outstanding stuff, psychedelic even.  Sadly, the free market was its demise as the eventual Humboldt County pot hegemony meant that here in Los Angeles, Kona was just a distant dream.  *Sigh*

    I’m trying really hard to detox from coffee.  The headaches sometimes are bad, but it’ll be worth it.

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  10:55 PM
  33. There’s some sort of coffee maker conspiracy going on.  My thermal carafe dohickey up and quit about 6 months ago.  I blamed the outrageous amounts of lime in the water here on the prarie, but now I have other suspicions.

    I have to pimp my friend’s coffee roastery here, because this is some of the most delectable stuff around.  It’s fair trade, so there’s no guilt.  He does small-batch hand roasting, is socially conscious and has made it intolerable for anything else to be brewed in my house.  I am not conversant with how to post a url so it doesn’t explode, so I’ll just give you the name and you can google it.  He comes up first:  Ahhre’s Coffee Roastery.  Out of New Jersey, of all places.  Good folks, great coffee.  And Kona mailed to your home.  Mmmmm.

    I spent several months bringing coffee to a housemate when she was finishing her book.  It may not have been a direct pipeline, but I got the best adoring looks and contented sighs.  I think it’s why she listed me in the acknowledgements.  I wonder if I could start a business coddling academics as they finish their books.  I cook and clean, too....

    Posted by  on  02/22  at  11:29 PM
  34. Kath: welcome to the best team of commenters on the net. But we don’t bash coffee here, alright? The man is, along with the Rude Pundit, the sharpest writer in Left Blogsylvania, his two main machines collapse on him, and you come to speak of tea???? Ok, “get a Mac” is a reasonable thing for Michael to hear, but “switch to tea”? Please. No wonder these Latin Americans and Europeans at times look at y’all US Americans and go, “what’s with these people?”

    Posted by Idelber  on  02/22  at  11:58 PM
  35. Hmmm. I’ve got one of those integrated grinder-brewers. On the occasions when it’s programmed in advance I think of it as an auxiliary alarm clock.

    For backup there’s a stove top espresso pot, a kettle, filters, a blender to grind the beans, and, for that matter, an attic full of geriatric computers.

    When I’m in a real hurry, though, I just chew a few beans. Nothing like mouth-brewed java.

    Posted by  on  02/23  at  02:33 AM
  36. You might try Lion Coffee (here’s the Amazon storefront; the site seems to have disappeared after the company merged with another coffee outfit):

    store

    Full disclosure: I worked for them for 9 months trying to make Macs work with a mid-range mfg system.

    It’s good Hawai’i coffee.

    Posted by Linkmeister  on  02/23  at  03:44 AM
  37. There seem to be a lot of competitors for the Mac of coffee machines.  You can’t go wrong with a french press or a vac pot (like a Bodum Electric Santos), but if you really just want to push a button, the machine for you is a Technivorm,
    the only automatic drip coffee maker certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), now available with a stainless steel carafe (Model KBTS).  The problem with most electric drips is that the water arrives at the coffee either too hot (in which case you get burned coffee) or too cold (in which case you don’t get proper extraction).  The Technivorm, uniquely, gets it just right (it’s the Baby Bear of coffee makers, one might say).

    But just as important as the coffee maker is a good grinder.  You want a burr mill, not a chopper, and there are now very nice ones available for very reasonable prices, like this Solis Maestro

    Don’t put coffee in the freezer, or even the refrigerator. It doesn’t much prolong the life of the coffee, and it adds moisture which reduces its quality.  Coffee for day to day use should be stored at room temperature. The only exception to this rule is if you plan on just storing coffee unused for more than 1 or 2 weeks. And you don’t want to do that.

    In fact, what you really want to do is roast your own coffee. It’s easy, fun, produces great, fresh coffee, and it saves you money.  A pound of excellent, unroasted Kona will run you $17.40, about half of what you spent on roasted Kona . . . and you won’t need to go to Hawaii for it (guess that’s not such an advantage).  And less highfalutin’, but nevertheless wonderful coffees, will run you as low as $4.30 a pound.

    If you want to explore any of this (brewing, grinding, roasting, even storing), a wonderful place to shop online is Sweet Marias.  A great selection of roasters, brewers, and grinders, and even better selection of terrific green beans at reasonable prices.  And the best costumer service on the planet.  Sweet Marias is still my favorite e-tailer of anything (and I buy a lot of stuff online).  Check ‘em out.

    And, oh yes, buy a Mac.

    Posted by  on  02/23  at  09:43 AM
  38. Hmm, sounds like we need to take up a collection to buy Michael some seeds and a grow light if he’s going for homemade. Coffee, that is.

    I’ll start by tossing in the donkey.

    Posted by  on  02/23  at  10:33 AM
  39. Sian, this is a family-friendly blog, and I doubt our host appeciates blatant donkey-tossing references. Think of the children!

    OT: Michael, I received and read Life As We Know It. It’s just an absolutely wonderful book. I wrote a few words about it over at my joint.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/23  at  11:29 AM
  40. It’s people like Ben Alpers (above) who made me decide to throw away the key to my loft, put my Blahniks in storage, move to a ranch, pass my Hummer along to a church charity and buy a second-hand Ford 150 that smells of cigars.

    It may be people like Ben who created the whole rightwing phenomenon.

    Home roasting.  Pfui!  Gedda life.

    Posted by PW  on  02/23  at  04:04 PM
  41. My stars, look at all the Pastry Shop habitués on this here blog.  Amy, it sounds as if we must have crossed paths at some point-- perhaps we’re even talking about the exact same ancient anarchist types draped in shapeless black clothing of uncertain vintage (one of them was named Mikhail, he really was).  And actually, Jackmormon, in my experience the place was always something of a shy nerdly pick-up spot.  In the early 1980s, we shy nerdly types held sway in the morning hours (OK, full disclosure-- one shy nerdly courtship went on for many months, another involved my dating one of the waitresses), and then the ancient anarchists, all of whom were writing sequels to Das Kapital on three-by-five index cards in green felt-tip markers, writing on both sides with no margins-- they showed up in the late afternoon to work the 4-12 shift.  And good lord, was the coffee oily.  I hope it’s improved, for your sakes.  Guys like Mikhail stomached it, as I recall, only by adding “flask flavor” to it at regular intervals.

    Idelber, thanks as always for your kind words, but I believe Kath is actually an American abroad-- in the UK, if her blog is to believed.  So she qualifies for a special Tea Exemption on this one.  Besides, she was only trying to help!  But give me that kick-in-the-head high-density Brazilian coffee anytime.

    Chris, thanks so much for reading my book-- and for writing so generously about it.  I’m truly grateful-- and I’ll remember to remind Jamie to get cracking on his version. . . .

    Posted by Michael  on  02/23  at  05:00 PM
  42. PW, don’t immediately assume that just because you don’t do something, it’s only being done by effete blue staters.

    For what it’s worth, I started home roasting precisely because I moved to the southern Great Plains where I could no longer find any decent roasted coffee.  Roasting my own was simpler, and cheaper, than having roasted coffee shipped, which also would likely go stale before I got through brewing it. 

    In my experience, there are a lot of homeroasters in small town, red-state America. You don’t even need fancy equipment. You can use a cheap air popcorn popper, or even a pan on the stove (or the BBQ).  One fellow figured out how to roast coffee using a big metal dog water bowl and a hot air gun. 

    Would it be churlish to suggest that the whole “rightwing phenomenon” might have just as much been created by folks quick to stereotype others?

    Posted by  on  02/23  at  05:12 PM
  43. Completely OT (or maybe not, since it’s all about how technology has gone completely awry, wreaking havoc on the lives of bloggers whose only wish was to change the world and win a fucking blogging award):

    Michael, you and I, and all who are commenting here, are losers.  But behind my clenched teeth I congratulate all the winners in this year’s Koufax Awards.

    Good luck on finding a coffee pot that loves you.  Most likely it will turn on you in the dark of night, so always keep a wary eye.  Damn computers and all the evil that they have spawned.

    NOW WHERE THE FUCK IS MY COFFEE, ROBBY?!?!?!

    PS--Since I lost, I might as well note that at the very least I was mentioned on the front page of the LATimes along with my wife and my dog.  I should be posting bail soon…

    Posted by NTodd  on  02/23  at  05:44 PM
  44. BTW, Michael, if’n you want to get anywhere in the Koufaxessess or any blogging awards, you really should fix your comments so links are easily discerned.  I mean, REALLY. 

    [rolls eyes, gets up to get more vino]

    Posted by NTodd  on  02/23  at  05:48 PM
  45. NTodd sez: you really should fix your comments so links are easily discerned. 

    Blink tags! We want blink tags!

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/23  at  05:51 PM
  46. Hey-hey, ho-ho, Berubes non-blinking tags have got to go!

    C’mon, say it with me.

    Posted by NTodd  on  02/23  at  06:06 PM
  47. What do we want?
    Some sort of readily visible typographic distinction between linked and non-linked comment text!
    When do we want it?
    As soon as Michael or Kurt have the time and the inclination to work on implementing it!

    (Suggestion: setting link text color to 933 seems like it would fit the general design of the site. Kurt probably has an even better idea, though.)

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/23  at  06:31 PM
  48. ROFLMAO.  Really, I no longer have an ass.

    Posted by NTodd  on  02/23  at  06:39 PM
  49. Ladies and gents, I’ve only tried the Kona!  Blue Mountain has been calling my name, tho, and my own mother suggested I try it! 

    I, too, had my first Kona in Hawaii, just this past summer, and I have to say, it’s the first coffee I’ve been able to drink in years without getting completely borborygneous.  I had only been doing the “10%” stuff till a friend sent me some full-blown for Christmas.

    And wasn’t the weed “Kauna?” That’s what I always heard.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  03:16 PM
  50. C’mon, people.  The secret to coffee is NOT quality but QUANTITY.  Start the morning with a pot of strong stuff, never let the cup get more than half empty (or half warm) before you refill, keep remaking at will.  Move to decaf right about the time your typing fingers are about to fly off your hands.

    That was the secret of drinking a lot of Hungarian Pastry Shop coffee, too, as I remember.  Except notebooks replaced keyboards in the formulation.

    Posted by  on  02/25  at  05:59 PM
  51. Just to agree with the others who said so, a French Press is the way to go.  Once you get used to it, it’s actually much easier than an electric coffee maker: no paper filters, no hot plate to turn off. 

    The official instructions say you should only use coarsely ground whole beans, but in fact the ordinary cheap ground stuff works OK.  Well, maybe OK is too positive a word, let’s say it works adequately, much less badly than in a regular coffee maker.

    Posted by Tim Horrigan  on  02/26  at  02:46 AM
  52. Ben-- resident of southern Great Plains, home roaster, shopper at Sweet Maria’s...are we married?  Oh wait. I’ve re-read your first post. I see your effete liberal mannerism and raise you one: we hand-grind our coffee in a turkish mill. A pleasant morning ritual, but not the best for those pressed for time.

    Michael, I second or third what someone said above. Redundancy is key! Know it and apply it. Don’t be caught unawares by these danged machines again!

    Posted by  on  02/27  at  11:36 AM
  53. Caffeine Addiction - Caffeine Effects and Withdrawal part I

    In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of caffeine addiction and the most important facts about it, as caffeine addiction is something we all must prevent in order for us to be healthy and stay that way for years. We are also going to mention some significant facts about caffeine effects and how caffeine effects may affect our body performance considerably.

    Caffeine addiction is one of the most famous types of addictions in the world, just like cocaine and marihuana. Caffeine addiction sometimes has been considered a lie, but it is a really, because caffeine is a stimulant that becomes addictive within a certain period of time. Interestingly, caffeine addiction shows up when you are not expecting it, and it does not necessarily show up because we want to

    Pure caffeine is, chemically speaking, a plant-based alkaloid that stimulates the central nervous system in any living creature that intakes it. Biologically, caffeine serves as a form of pest control for certain plants like cacao trees, coffee shrubs, yuba mate and tea trees; it causes insects and other pests to fall down from the effects of over-stimulation. So, just like those pests and insects that I mentioned, caffeine also produces stimulation in our central nervous system, which usually makes us feel more energized, invigorating and active.

    There is something called caffeine withdrawal, which refers to the sudden denial of us to consume caffeine, and it happens when regular consumers of caffeinated products may experience painful headaches if the body is denied caffeine. These headaches are caused by excess blood gathering in the area around the brain and sinus cavities, so without the stimulation provided by caffeine, the blood vessels shrink, restricting the blood flow. The traditional cure for caffeine withdrawal is to ingest more caffeine, which is not a healthy solution and this is also why many headache medications contain small amounts of caffeine.... to be continued

    You can find more info at: http://yourcaffeineaddiction.com/

    Posted by Paul C. Herson  on  02/06  at  05:20 PM
  54. thank you for sharing this. I had fun reading all your ideas.

    Posted by pest control  on  01/29  at  02:13 PM
  55. Don’t let the coffee sit in the French press after the brewing time has completed, or else it can become bitter from remaining in contact with grounds for longer than needed. If you don’t wish to serve it all at once, pour it into a thermos

    Posted by Grind and Brew Coffee Maker Adviser  on  02/12  at  12:40 PM
  56. Machines are there to make peoples lives easier and better but it doesn’t mean that we have to depend largely on these things. It must not develop laziness to people.

    Great post!Thanks!

    Posted by Sarah Wilson  on  01/09  at  01:57 AM
  57. This is a well-written and informative post. Keep it up!

    Posted by Noah  on  02/06  at  04:10 AM
  58. This is really interesting take on the concept. I never thought of it that way. Thanks posting

    Posted by Free Dating Sites  on  02/26  at  12:38 AM

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